Balancing army reserves and pro wrestling early on his career, Strickland had quite a handful at the beginning of his career. Originally trained at Ground Xero Wrestling in Richmond, VA by Ron “The Pharaoh” Cromartie then would eventually move up to Pennsylvania and meet Adam Cole.
Moving up through the ranks of CZW, Strickland trained with and was mentored by the likes of Adam Cole, Sami Callihan, Rich Swann, AR Fox, and Ricochet. In 2014, he became a 2X CZW wired Champion and started international tours in Mexico, Europe, and the UK. Years later, he was able to defeat Brian Cage for the Wrestlecircus Ringmaster title and defeat Lio Rush, Joe Gacy, and Davey Richards to win the CZW World Title and the Defy Wrestling Title. He is currently the title holder of all 3.